Monday, October 24, 2016

My 18 Month Quest for Joy

Oct. 24, 2016
Hey friends and family!

So the time has final week on the mission. This will be my last weekly email because next Monday I will be finishing up packing and then having my departing stuff with president Wright. I can't believe it! Your whole life you hear about missions. We sing about them in primary, we prepare for them in young men's and young women's, you have the missionaries over for dinner, and then one day, you're finally on your very own mission. Where you can't help but stop and think, "Dang. I'm a missionary. I'm on a mission!" And then you hit the hard reality that one day, you won't be on a mission anymore. And let me tell you, that's a hard reality to get hit with. It doesn't seem real, but I knew when I signed up for this that it would end one day. I was a lot more excited for the ending at the start of my mission then I am now. I wish I could wear my name tag forever! I also wish I could magically give you all my memories from the past 18 months of my life so you could know and feel everything that I've been through, but since I can't, I'll just share with you some important truths and principles that I've learned on my mission. 

If I had to describe my mission in three words or less it would be TRUE JOY. There is nothing that brings greater joy in this life than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. "15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15). True joy comes from sharing the gospel. But the only way that I could come to know and feel this true joy is because I have felt true sorrow on my mission. There is opposition in all things, can't have good without the bad. I have seen people reject this gospel, not live the gospel, and I have seen people turn away from Christ. Let me tell you, watching these things happen first hand is true sorrow. Before my mission I thought I knew what it meant to have sorrow, or to be sad. But there have been many occasions in the past 18 months where I have fallen down to my knees because the sorrow was too much for me. My heart truly hurt for these people. But because of the sorrow I've seen and felt, I can know true joy. "We may not feel deeply enough to know joy unless our hearts have been hollowed out by sorrow." We can choose to have joy despite the sorrows that we know. In the book of Alma we learn that Ammon and his brethren had hard times on their missions, but they also felt joy. "8 And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy." (Alma 28:8)

True joy comes from serving others. When you are called to be a missionary, it says you are called to serve. Joy and happiness flood into our lives when we forget about ourselves and help others. "39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."(Matt. 10:39). "Forget yourself, and go to work." The times when I forgot about my problems and thought less about myself, those were the times that I found myself having the most joy. "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."-C.S. Lewis

True joy comes from overcoming. I've learned that Heavenly Father places mountains in front of you and sometimes, you have no idea how you are going to ever make it to the summit. But with each step of faith, even the smallest step forward brings encouragement and joy. Even the smallest improvement in our lives brings us joy. There is joy in progressing forward and feeling like we have a purpose. There is joy in true repentance because repentance brings change. Repentance brings us closer to our Heavenly Father. Joy comes from overcoming obstacles and trials in our lives. 

True joy is not found in the things of the world. Yeah it might be cool and fun to have lots of things, to get lots of likes on Facebook or Instagram, or receive recognition for your talents and skills, but those things only give us temporary happiness. You won't be able to take Instagram to heaven with you, so don't rely on the likes or shares for joy. Find joy in the gospel. Find joy in your families. Because true joy comes from learning and obtaining those things that we can take with us to the eternities.

Ultimately, true joy is in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has told us "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”(John 16:33). Joy comes from understanding and using the Atonement daily. He performed the most sacred act for each of us that we might have joy. There is joy in learning of Christ and trying to be like Him. We can know and have the surety that everything we do in His name is an investment in joy. 

These past 18 months have taught me so much. I have seen this gospel change lives, I have seen miracles, and I have felt joy. Thank you so much for all the support and love from home. I'm excited to see each of you and give you a hug and thank you personally for all the prayers you've offered on my behalf. I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us so much. He hears our prayers and He answers them. I am grateful for this gospel and for the opportunity I have had to share it with the people of Northern California for the last 18 months. I will always cherish my mission and the memories I have made. I know that this gospel is true and that it brings true joy in to our lives! 

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

My 21st birthday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hey Every Juan!

Hi family!

This week seemed like the longest week of my life, but it was still a super good! I feel like we did everything again this week haha! I love being busy! 

This email will probably be super short because I can't remember anything we did this week haha. But I know we had family night with Corey and her family! It was super great! They are doing really well!

We taught Gabriel a TON this week! We were focusing on teaching member present lessons this week for our zone competition so we had some SOLID lessons with him! And guess what? He came to church on Sunday! Woo! Finally! And he liked it so much that he said he was going to come back every week! So that's awesome! We were so happy when we saw him walk in! The pure joy of missionary work! 

We also had zone conference in Petaluma this past week! It's an all day meeting with President and Sister Wright, the APs, tech elders, and the SAN Rafael zone! It was sooooo good! I was in a special musical number for it with sister Stromberg, elder Joyner, and elder field! Sister Stromberg and elder field are in the other zone so they practiced together and then elder Joyner and I practiced together and then we put it together on the spot at zone conference! And it turned out super well!! I also had to give my departing testimony because I'm going home this transfer....I didn't cry. So that's good hahaha I don't like to think about the end. But everyone keeps reminding me that it's coming soon. But it's ok, it hasn't hit me yet haha. 

Other than that, we did a lot of teaching and heart attacking this week haha we decorated all the missionaries apartment doors this week! It was super fun doing it and everyone loved it! I love leaving kind notes for people! But the best part about the day is that the tech elder heart attacked our door while we were out doing everyone else's door. It totally made our day coming home to it! Gotta love the elders! 

Well know that I am doing well! Loving life and loving the gospel more and more everyday! I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Juan the egg! Haha it's an inside joke with the tech elders!

Monday, September 26, 2016

He prayed! He prayed!!

Sept. 26, 2016
Hi family!

This week has been awesome! So many good things happened this week! I would have to say the best thing this week was that Gabriel finally prayed all on his own!! We had a lesson with him Wednesday night about the importance of having daily individual prayer and we committed him to say personal prayers more often. Gabriel hasn't prayed on his own for a LONG time and he was very hesitant about it, but we texted him right before we went to bed Wednesday night and reminded him to pray, and he responded telling us that he knelt down and prayed right after we left his home earlier in the evening!!! We didn't see his text until the morning, but let me tell you, that is the best thing to wake up to in the morning! We asked him how it went and he said that it felt really good and peaceful and that he was feeling really happy that day!! Ahhhh!! He prayed! Crazy how one person praying can bring you so much joy! We will continue to help Gabriel make baby steps towards baptism this week!
Beautiful Santa Rosa!

We helped pick a lady's pears from her tree, so we climbed in the tree to get the ones at the top!

So we had transfers this week! My new companion, Sister Smith, is seriously the sweetest person I have ever met in my entire life! There is not a mean bone in her body! She's from McCammon, IDAHO! My first, and only, Idahoan companion! She's has been out on her mission for about 5 months and we get along super well! People think we are sisters when they first see us! Haha we are two peas in a pod!

Four of my companions! I got to see them all on Friday at MLC!!

We also had MLC on Friday which is always a good time. I love hearing from President and Sister Wright and the assistants! It was a really good MLC! After, the Zone Leaders and I met and discussed what we wanted to do for zone meeting tomorrow! It is going to be soooo good! We have a epic zone vision this transfer that we came up with! We are focusing on the Key Indicators and we are have a District vs. District competition using the key indicators! Each week we are focusing on one of the key indicators and whatever district can get the highest numbers that week for that key indicator, wins for the week. At the end of the transfer, what ever district has the most wins, gets to have a big dinner/party at President and Sister Wrights home! President loved that part haha! The zone vision to go along with it is "Its All About K.E.Y.S" and KEYS stands for Keep Emulating Your Savior. So at zone meeting tomorrow, I'm going to be teaching about the key indicators and how Christ use key indicators also in His ministry! This transfer is going to be super good!

Watching General women's Meeting! Haha we watched it with Sister Wright so we took a picture of us pretending to be asleep to send to President! Haha he got a good kick out of it!

This past week was a little slow because of all the meetings and what not, but Sister Smith and I are determined to work hard this transfer! We are pumped for the zone challenge we have and we want to win! Haha I'm working on a tshirt design right now for our zone vision! This transfer is going to be so good!

Well know that I am doing good and loving every second! I am so grateful for the things I have learned, am learning, and will continue to learn in the next five weeks! I love my mission and I love my Savior! I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Beginning of the End

Sept. 19, 2016
Hello family!

So today marks the beginning of my last transfer on my mission. It's
crazy how fast it has gone by! 6 weeks left to give my all to the
Lord! Since we have transfers tomorrow, let me tell you what's
happening! I will be staying here in Santa Rosa in the Rincon Valley
Ward for my last transfer and I am getting a new companion! Her name
is Sister Smith! I've actually never met her yet, but she sounds super
sweet! She's only been out for about 4 months! Sister Porter is
leaving me :( but she's is going to Vacaville so she's is going to a
great area! Also, get this, they are taking sisters out of the Brush
Creek Ward! My greenie area no longer exist now! Crazy! So now, it
will just be sister smith and I living in this apartment! It's going
to be so different, but I'm excited to work super hard this transfer!
Also, because it is my last 6 weeks on the mission, I start the
program called "My Plan". It's a program that all missionaries going
home must do. It helps us set goals and plans for after our missions!
I'm not too sure how I feel about it haha I think it's a great idea,
but it also means I'm close to the end of my mission. Mixed feelings
right now for sure!

This past weeks was awesome though! On PDay last week, Brother Bingham
took Sister Porter and I golfing! It felt so good to swing a club
again after 17 months! Surprisingly, I didn't do all that bad for not
playing for so long haha I tied with Brother Bingham in the 9 holes we
played. It was a cute little Par 3 course! It was so fun! We also went
to the beach that day with our zone! We drove about 40 minutes to get
to Bodega Bay! Such a fun PDay!

I went on exchanges this week with Sister James in the Brush Creek
Ward! Sister James has only been out for two transfers now, but I love
her! Haha it was so fun being back in my old greenie area for the day!
We visited a ton of people, some that I use to teach, and some new! It
was a great exchange!

Oh! Get this! So early Thursday morning, I get a Facebook message from
Ulita Fifita(the mom of the Samoan family I was teaching in Petaluma)
and she's tells me that they are being evicted from their home and she
asks me for help. At this point, I have to stop and think, "I'm only a
20 year old girl. What am I suppose to do?". I've thought that a lot
on my mission. But I said a quick prayer, and called President Wright.
President knows a lot about the Fifita family because we were teaching
them for so long and then the dad stepped in and wouldn't let any of
them get baptized. President gave me permission to call the Petaluma
sisters and Bishop Dame. Bishop Dame also knows the family because
they came to church last year and he had come to a few lessons. Bishop
Dame gave me a couple of resources that I could give Ulita to help and
then I called the Sisters and asked them to go over and just comfort
Ulita as much as they could. What ended up happening that day was that
Ulita ended up calling a couple of those resources and ended up in a
legal aid service here in Santa Rosa! She's asked me to come visit her
while she was here so I did! It was SO good seeing her again! She was
able to figure things out with the legal aid services because she is a
single mom with 8 kids so she has a lot of benefits she didn't know
about. They are giving her til the end of the month to find a new
place to live rather than be evicted that day. So grateful everything
was able to work out there! And Ulita told me that her husband is
legally out of the picture now! So that means they can come to church
now, and read the Book of Mormon now, and get baptized!!! Ulita said
she wants to come to church again and wants all her kids to get
baptized!! So exciting! I love the Fifita family so much!

We were able to have a couple of awesome lessons with Gabriel this
week! He came to our Book of Mormon class on Tuesday night and now he
is listening to the Book of Mormon on his phone(we showed him the
gospel library app)! He loves learning more! We also had a lesson with
him at the Woods home on Friday night! We taught him the plan of
salvation and it was SO good! He offered his first vocal prayer that
night!! That's a huge step for him! He told us that he feels peace
when he is learning everything. We told him that it was the spirit
testifying to him that these things are true. Gabriel knows that this
is good, but he's scared to move forward. We committed him to come to
church yesterday, but he didn't show. Hopefully, as we teach him about
faith this week, he will take that leap of faith and trust in this
gospel! He's awesome!

On exchanges with Sister James! And a photo shoot on our way to an appt.

For the majority of the week we spent less active finding! Our relief
society president gave us a long list of names to go visit and find
out more information about! We also did service this week at the
Foodbank, meals on wheels, and on Saturday, we handed out clothes to
the homeless! We learn in the scriptures that we are to feed the
hungry and clothe the naked and that's exactly what we did this week!
So fun! I love service!

In a member’s backyard.

I'm so pumped to give it my all in these next 6 weeks. It's going to
go by so fast but I am going to cherish every last second! I love this
gospel with all my heart and I know it is true! True joy comes from
living the gospel and its commandments and then sharing the good news
of the gospel with others! I love you all and I am so grateful for
each of you! Have an amazing week!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Awakened to a Remembrance of their Duty" -Alma 4:3

Sept. 12, 2016
Hi friends and family!

Wow. I learned a lot this week. This gospel is truly miraculous. I
want to start out by sharing a poem with you called "Highs and Lows"
by Jack Brinkerhoff.

A mission is a strange experience. It's a trial and a test.
A mission throws at you the worst yet teaches you the best.
They told me this would be the best period of my life. But I guess
they didn't explain it all too clear.
I came out looking for a bed of roses. I just wasn't expecting all the
thorns I've found out here.
Since I've been out, I've never been so happy. I've never been so depressed.
I've never felt so forsaken. I've never felt so blessed.
I've never been so consumed. My mind has never been so clear.
I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant. I've never felt Him so near.
I've never been so discouraged. I've never been so full of hope.
I feel like I can go forever. I think I've come to the end of my rope.
I've never had it so easy. I've never had it so tough.
Things have never gone more smoothly. Things have never been so rough.
I've never traveled through more valley. I've never ascended so many peaks.
I've never met so many neat people. I've never met so many freaks.
I've never had so many ups. I've never had so many downs.
I've never worn so many smiles. I've never worn so many frowns.
I've never been so lonely. I've never had so many friends.
Man, I hope this is all over soon.
Gosh, I hope this never ends.

I love this poem because it perfectly describes my mission. So many
highs and so many lows. The past couple of months, I've been feeling
pretty low. It was rough. I won't go into detail, but just know that
life was super hard for me and my mind was starting to give up on me.
But with the help from a dear friend and the Savior, I'm working my
way back up. I have learned a lot about the Atonement this past week.
I'm very grateful for repentance and the chance it gives me to change.
I've been awakened to a remembrance of my duty(alma 4:3) and I plan on
working so hard until the end.

This week has been crazy good though! We worked so hard. Soooo much
happened this week though so I will just hit a few of the best parts!
So remember Gabriel, the guy we met on the street last week and had a
super cool street lesson with him? Welllllll, we were able to meet
with him twice this week and teach him more! He is awesome! But you
can tell that he's scared for a change in his life. He said he was
going to come to church, but he didn't show. But he has a desire to
learn and to come closer to Christ! Hopefully we can meet with him
more this week and get him to church!

We visited a ton of people this week. We just hit the ground and tried
visiting everyone we could and we ended up having some awesome lessons
this week! We also did a lot of service! One of which was running
around someone's backyard trying to catch chickens and clean up their
yard. Haha it was super fun. It was at a Spanish members house and
afterwards they fed us carne asada and it was super good. Also, I ate
a chili de Diablo which is this tiny black chili that is from the
devil(hence the name haha). But it was soooooo hot. Haha I was dying.
Good times though!
With the sister we live with!

Chicken service! We had to wear mask because it was super dusty and dirty haha

Also, get this, yesterday was Josh Groesbecks farewell and guess who
came in town and surprised me for it? MICHELLE AND BRENNAN RAY! For
those of you who don't know, the Ray family is like my second family
back home. And so seeing Michelle and Brennan totally made my day!!!
It was SO fun talking with them again and telling them about my
mission!! It was crazy, but so good!

Overall, this past week has been so good! We had dinner with President
and Sister Wright last night and I just adore them. Haha President and
I have the funniest relationship! We tease each other relentlessly! I
love it! But they both are so great! Definitely huge role models in my
life! I have been so blessed. Even though life has been pretty rough
lately, I have still seen the Lords hand in my life each day. I am
surrounded by amazing people with amazing stories and backgrounds.
I've had so many tender mercies from the Lord this past week
especially. He is truly aware of each of us and He hears our prayers.
I know that for a fact. How grateful I am to be a missionary for The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and how grateful I am to
be able to share the good news of this gospel with everyone! Thank you
so much for your prayers and support from home! I love you all!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 5, 2016

He is ALWAYS within Reach!

Sept. 5, 2016
Hi family!

Do you know how much I love being a sister missionary? A lot. I love
it! There is truly nothing better than sharing the good news of the
gospel with people! Especially with people who are hearing it for the
first time! Watching the spirit touch them is truly amazing! Good
things are happening here in the Rincon Valley Ward!

Last week on Monday, we went to the redwood forest called Armstrong
Woods with the Coons! It was my first time ever seeing a redwoods
forest and oh my goodness gracious....those tress are HUGE! Haha I was
in such awe and wonder the whole time! Such an awesome experience!

Tuesday we had zone meeting in the morning! It was super good! Sister
Bender and I team taught the section about using the scriptures more
effectively! We are trying to memorize scripture references for each
of the 42 principles in preach my gospel, so we played a few games to
help them start memorizing! Super fun! In the afternoon, we had a
lesson with a less active and then we went and tried visiting a
potential family! They couldn't meet right then so we set up a return
appointment with them for this week! But as we were walking back to
the car, we stopped to talk to a man out walking with an old lady. He
basically stopped us haha he started asking us questions about what we
were doing, why we do it, and why we were dressed so nice! Haha his
name is Gabriel and he works as a care giver for the older lady he was
out on a walk with! We ended up having a super spiritual street lesson
with him. Gabriel said he would normally never talk to people like us
and that he usually just throws away whatever pamphlets or books
religious people give him, but he said this time was different. He is
going through a hard time right now and he's been praying for a way to
get closer to God and Jesus Christ....God heard his prayers because it
was no coincidence that we crossed his path. While we were sharing a
short lesson with him, you could physically see the spirit entering
his heart. He looked at us, with tears in his eyes, and told us he was
speechless. He couldn't believe that God had answered his prayer. We
bore strong testimony to him of the reality of our Heavenly Father and
how much He loves him. We got his contact info and we've been texting
back and forth with him all week. He's been reading the Book of
Mormon! But here's the down side...we don't know where he lives. Which
could mean that we might have to pass him off to other missionaries if
he lives in a different Ward boundary. But Gabriel was an answer to my
prayers. I needed to meet him and be reminded of what it's like to
share the gospel with people who are hearing it for the first time. It
brings so much joy to my heart. My heart needed to meet him.

Wednesday I was on exchanges with Hermana Bazzelle in the Spanish
area! It was so fun! I tried to participate as much as I could during
the lessons with my broken Spanish, but for the most part, I just sat
and enjoyed the spirit haha I did get asked to sing at dinner though.
That took me by surprise haha but it was overall a great exchange!
While I was on exchanges though, the other sisters picked up a couple
new investigators! Woo! They were trying to find some potentials, but
ended up finding two new people! Their names are Alan and Jenna! They
are a couple and we are going to see them again tomorrow!

We spent the rest of our week just finding and visiting less actives!
We also did service for brother coons Saturday morning which was fun!
We helped him paint pieces of a bunk bed that they are going to build
soon! Church yesterday was incredible. Wow. Fasting+prayer=spirit
revealing things to you. It was awesome! I posted something about our
relief society lesson on Facebook because it really hit home for me
and I knew of some people on Facebook it would help too. Jesus Christ
is the one who will heal our broken hearts and contrite spirits. We
just have to reach out to Him. I feel like I've hit rock bottom
multiple times on my mission, where I was truly broken hearted,
humble, and reaching out for my Savior. And each time, He has taken my
hand and made me whole again. Ive gone through a lot in the past few
months, but with each step of faith, whether they be big or small
steps, Christ is making me whole again. "Daughter, thy faith hath
made thee whole." And that's something I am eternally grateful for.

I love you all so much. I am so thankful for your prayers. Those carry
me throughout the day! Also, thank you mom for sending me the talk,
The Character of Christ! I needed it this week for sure! It was an
answer to my prayers! God is real, Christ lives, and They love us all
so much! Never forget that!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, August 29, 2016

Whoa. What happened to August?

Hi Family!

This past week literally flew by. It's crazy! Time is moving faster
and faster and I trying to make it slow down! But we had a awesome
week over here in the Rincon Valley Ward! Here are some of the
highlights from my week!

We had an awesome family night with the Coons last week! We went and
got frozen yogurt together and then we had a super good lesson
afterwards! So Corey, the mom, is a recent convert so we usually go
over every Monday night to help her with family night. We taught the 6
year old McKenna how to pray. We played a cute prayer game with her
and tried explaining how to pray, but it was going no where haha. She
was just all over the place that night! So I decided to sing her a
song about how to pray, and it worked like a charm. Every time I would
start singing, she would immediately calm down and sit right next to
me and just listen. I taught her how to sing the song herself so she
can always remember how to pray! Music has a way to all hearts,
whether old or young! I love it!

Tuesday night was busy haha so busy that we had to go on splits with
members! We had been asked like three weeks ago to help out with a
mutual activity that night, and then one of our recent convert
families told us that Tuesday night was the only night available for
them for a lesson, so we split up and covered both! I was with Amie
Wright and we went to the mutual activity and Sister Porter went with
Sis. Bingham to the lesson! Both things turned out super well!

The tech elders were making an Office parody video, so obviously they
needed a stapler in jello! Haha by the end of the day it didn't look
to good anymore.

We did service at the Foodbank on Wednesday, which is always a good
time. We also had a super good lesson with John, the older Asian man
that is mentally handicap that was baptized last year! He is seriously
one of my favorite people ever haha he is just the sweetest guy! We
talked more bout the temple and doing baptisms for the dead! He is
super pumped to be able to go to the temple soon! Thursday we did
service at Meals on Wheels, which is probably my favorite service
ever. We go and help cook food for them to deliver to either
retirement homes, homeless shelters, or any other place that has
people that need food. We get to wear lab coats, aprons, hair nets,
and gloves as we cook the food so you can just imagine a group of
missionaries dressed like this, running around a giant kitchen/cooking
area, chopping, mixing, or cooking food! It's so great!

We had a lesson with Sister King this week. She is an older widow in
the Ward that we go over to once a week and read the Book of Mormon
with her. She hilarious haha we get along super great! We also had a
lesson with Mayson on Thursday night! So Mayson is a 17 year old kid
who was baptized earlier this year! He is such an awesome guy! We
drove up to his house with Sis. Van Cleave and had a really good
lesson with him about the importance of CPR(church, pray, read). He
lives about a 30 minute drive up a mountain so the view from his house
was incredible! I could have spent all day there just looking at the
view! I took a picture, but it doesn't do it justice. We had his
lesson out on his back porch so the picture I'm sending home is what
our view was while we were teaching him. So cool. I fall in love with
Nor Cal more and more everyday!

On the way up to Maysons house!

The view from his back porch!

Most of this week we spent inviting less actives to our Ward BBQ which
happened Friday night! And a lot of the people we invited actually
came! We had an awesome turn out for the BBQ! Even sis. Rowlands
nonmember husband came! Which was awesome! And Corey's nonmember 16
year old son came and brought a friend! Oh and get this! Bro. and Sis.
Koehle(an older German couple in our Ward) came up to me at the BBQ
and told me that they had just gotten back from a family reunion in
Utah last week and guess who else was there?? Grandma and grandpa
Thompson!! Sis. Koehle is Grandma Thompson's first cousin! So I'm
related to the Koehles! Haha we call each other cousin every time we
see each other now! Haha I'm just finding connections all of the place
in this Ward!

Elder Parker and Elder Solo

I was at MLC all day on Friday which I LOVE. I love hearing from
President and Sister Wright and the assistants! It's crazy how often I
see them now that I'm serving here in Santa Rosa! I also got to see
Sister Stromberg at MLC, it was a great reunion haha. I miss her a
lot! Overall, MLC was super good and now I am preparing a section to
teach at zone meeting on Tuesday! I'm super pumped for it because I'm
talking about the scriptures! Only my favorite books in the world!
Sister Wright really wants us to focus on memorizing scripture
references for each of the 42 principles in preach my gospel! So I
will be playing a bunch of game with the missionaries to help us
memorize scripture references! I'm pumped!

We had a super good lesson with David Rowland Saturday night! We
taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ but we made an activity out of
it so he could remember it better! I call it The Gospel Steps
activity. You basically have six piece of paper, one that says the
celestial kingdom, one says faith, another repentance, baptism, the
gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. You have one person
stand on one side of the room and they hold the celestial kingdom
sign. David and I were on the other side of the room and we had to
make the necessary steps to get to the celestial kingdom! So with each
step, we explained what it was to him and them had him explain it back
to us, then we gave him the sign that corresponded with that step and
then he could take another step towards the celestial kingdom. We did
this until we got to the celestial kingdom and then we had him go back
and see if he could do and say all the steps on his own! It turned out
super well and he could do it on his own by the end!

Yesterday we had dinner with the Groesbeck family! I love them all to
death haha we were laughing so hard the whole time! We also had the
stake presidency meet and greet last night! It was fun getting to know
the stake presidency! Today for PDay the Coons are taking us to
Armstrong Woods! It's a redwood forest about 40 minutes away! I'm so

I am loving every second of being a missionary. Last night at the meet
and greet, the high councilman over missionary work said something
that I loved. He said, "Missionaries are promised by the Lord that if
you serve diligently and give it your all, you are promised all the
blessings of this life and in the eternities. All the blessings you
could ever need are yours if you serve faithfully to the end. So you
could serve and give a half effort to the work and receive only half
the blessings. Do you elders and sisters only want half the
blessings?" We all simultaneously said no. "Then don't serve with only
half of your heart in the work. Don't serve with only a 50% effort in
the day. Give it your all, all day every day and you will receive all
the blessings the Lord has promised to you. All the blessings of the

I love that. So many blessings will come to those who serve faithfully
and diligently, so why would you not serve with all your heart, might,
mind, and strength? Who doesn't want the blessings of the eternities?
I know I do, so I will continue to serve with all my heart, might,
mind, and strength to the very end! I love you all so much! I feel
your prayers and the support you give to me! Have an amazing week!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

šŸŽ¶"I love to see the temple, I went inside on Wednesday"šŸŽ¶

Aug. 22, 2016
Hey family!

The past week went by crazy fast! We did a lot of stuff this week,
including going to the Oakland temple on Wednesday!! But here are the
highlights from my week!

Monday, we had half a PDay because we had a temple trip on Wednesday.
So sister Porter and I just cleaned, emailed, and grocery shopped in
the morning. During the afternoon we were out on the streets just
trying to talk to people. I feel like I'm really rusty at street
contacting because we never did it in Fairfield. Street contacting
wasn't very effective in Fairfield, that's why we never did it. Later
in the evening, we went over to the Coons to do family night. So
Corey, the mom, was just baptized about a month ago and the dad, Dave,
was a less active member. They have three kids, a 16 year old boy
named Zak, a 6 year old named McKenna, and a 3 year old named Scarlet.
They are seriously the cutest family ever. I love them! The son Zak
isn't a member so we are hoping to start teaching him!

Tuesday, we had district meeting in the morning but it went super long
because we had PPI's with our district leader afterward. And then we
had a zone lunch which is always super fun. After we got back, sister
Porter and I decided that we were going to walk everywhere the rest of
the day. So we did. Haha we even walked to dinner and then we walked
to the church right after for our scripture study class! After the
class, we started walking home, but we were so tired that we walked
back to the church and asked the bishop, who was there for a scout
meeting, to give us a ride home haha. Gotta love bishop Groesbeck!

I got my pink slip last's basically like your death
certificate on the mission haha it just asks you about travel plans
for going home. All missionaries here take a picture with it when they
get it.

Wednesday, we got to go to the Oakland temple! So let me tell you how
much I love the Oakland temple...I love it. Like a lot. Haha I've had
the opportunity to go five times as a missionary and every time I go,
I fall more in love with it! I could spend all day there! I'll tell
you one of my favorite parts about going to that temple though. Inside
the celestial room, in the middle of the room, there's a giant bouquet
of white orchids. Back when I was serving in Petaluma, on my 20th
birthday and about 2 weeks before his baptism, Camilo gave me a vase
with a single white orchid plant in it. He told me that the white
orchids reminded him of me because of how pure they looked. For those
of you who don't know, Camilo was probably the biggest reason why I
got transferred to Petaluma. He was one of the people that I just
clicked with and I am so grateful for. Camilo is a dear friend to me
so the white orchids he gave me meant a lot to me. So every time I see
the giant bouquet of white orchids in the celestial room, I am
reminded of Camilo and of all the other people that I have been able
to meet on my mission. I always get a little teary eyed as I think of
all the people I've come in contact with in the past 16 months of my
life. I love each of them so dearly. The Oakland temple is and always
will be my favorite temple because of my mission.

After dinner that night, we went on splits with some of the members! I
was lucky enough to be with Jessi Groesbeck, the bishops daughter and
my super good friend! She had just gotten back from her mission when I
started mine, so I got to meet her last time I was serving in Santa
Rosa! I love her to death haha she is hilarious! She's only here until
Saturday because she is heading back to Provo for school, so I'm glad
I got to go on splits with her! We just went out finding for the night
and we had the funniest experiences, some really cool experiences, but
there was a lot of laughter that night! I loved it!

Thursday, we had interviews with President Wright in the morning! I
could talk to President Wright for hours haha we have a super tight
relationship. He makes fun of me all the time, especially in front of
other missionaries, so I do it right back to him haha. He is the
greatest! We did service in the afternoon, and then finding in the
Friday, we made flyers for our Ward BBQ this weekend in the morning,
and then we did planning. We went through and organized our area book
which took a lot longer than expected, but it was so worth it! We got
a new app about two months ago that allows us to open a map with dots
all over it. The dots represent either members, less actives, part
member families, potential investigators, formers, etc. And so it
makes finding SO nice. Because you can just open up the app and it
shows you if anyone is close to you! So we went through and made sure
all the info was correct in our area book so it would show up correct
on the area book map! I love having an iPad!

Saturday, we got to help out with the Food Rally at the Santa Rosa
Foodbank! It's where they distribute all the food to people. So we got
to stand at different stations and hand out food to people as the
walked by. It was actually super fun! Later in the evening we went
over to the Rowland's and we cooked dinner for them! Haha Sister
Rowland taught us how to make flautas! It was so good! After dinner we
had a lesson with their son David who is getting baptized soon! We
tried to get their nonmember dad to sit in on the lesson, but no luck
there. Next time haha.

Sunday, we taught the gospel principles class and we also taught a
primary class in the other Ward! Both went super well! The rest of the
Sunday we spent handing out flyers to the Ward BBQ to a bunch of less
actives. We were able to catch all of them at home which was awesome!
The highlight of the night was going to one of our investigators
houses. We had a feeling that we should stop by that night and invite
him to the BBQ also. His name is Chris and when we showed up, he was
in tears on his front porch. As we walked up, I could see cigarettes
everywhere and an alcoholic beverage in his cup. He was very very
drunk. His girlfriend was on her way out and she told us that we
couldn't have come at a more perfect time. She told us that Chris
really needed us right now. So we talked to Chris for a while. It was
my first time meeting him, but my heart just went out to him. Perks of
talking to some one who is drunk, they are very honest with you and
will tell you everything usually. So Chris opened up to us about what
was going on and his life is pretty rough at the moment. We said a
prayer with him and bore our testimonies to him and then left. He
knows that he shouldn't be drinking or smoking, but life got to him.
We are going to stop by again later this week to check up on him. I
love it when God places us exactly where we need to be.
Overall, we had a super good week! Still trying to find more people to
teach, but we are staying busy! I am so grateful for the opportunity I
had to go the temple this week. I know that what happens inside the
temple is true. I feel so close to the Lord when I am inside His
house. I look forward to the day when I can be sealed in the temple
and start my own eternal family. It brings me a lot of joy knowing
that it will all last for eternity. Families truly are forever. I love
you all so much and hope you have an amazing week!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ